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Challenge* How's it going?? (Classical Conversations)

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#1 NayfiesMama

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 10:30 PM

Hi There,

Next year, I'm planning on my daughter doing Challenge A, Veritas Press' Omnibus II or a local Charter, Classical School.

SO, as far as Challenge, what are you liking? Not liking? What level are your students at? What do you wish you had down more preparation for? I'm wondering what I will wish I had taught her...

Any hints about Challenge?

Feel Free to pm me if you don't want to publicly post.

Carrie:-)

Edited by NayfiesMama, 29 September 2009 - 12:34 AM.


#2 G5052

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 06:50 AM

Our Challenge A Director also teaches for Veritas Press, and I've discussed the ins and outs of that with her too. She is very creative and uses a lot of variety in how she teaches. We're very happy with Challenge A, and hope to continue with Challenge as long as possible. Veritas Press is my fall-back if that changes. The Challenge A class at our campus is very orderly and she has high expectations. My kid had 3 years of Foundations including 2 of Essentials, and he was completely ready even though he's the second youngest in the class. It's a lot of work for him, but nothing is overly hard.

A friend at another campus with another tutor is less happy than I am because the tutor is struggling with classroom management and isn't providing much guidance on some of the assignments.

They would like for me to do Challenge I next year, but there's a lot of factors that have to come into place for that to happen. We'll see...

Edited by GVA, 25 September 2009 - 06:54 AM.


#3 Heather in VA

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 12:01 PM

We tried Challenge last year. My daughter was in 8th and was planning on Challenge B with Latin done with Challenge A since she had quite a bit of Latin already.

My first recommendation would be to check out the teacher. As with anything else, the teacher is a fundamental factor to how it turns out. The Challenge B teacher was a great lady but was used to younger children so consequently wasn't as familiar with what needed to be required of kids in their last year before high school. There has been some dispute as to whether or not the CC organization requires a Challenge teacher to have (or have had in the past) students of that age or older. Our Challenge B teacher oldest child was in 6th (or maybe 5th I can't remember) but she didn't have jr or sr highers. So if it's a policy, it's not always actually done.

Our Challenge A teacher had alot of high school experience so was much more in line with her expectations. I tried to move my dd into Challenge A fully but it was full. Even still, what I came out of Challenge realizing was that for me, it is just not a rigorous enough program and the credits they give are IMHO too generous for the work done.

We are using Omnibus this year - we've used parts before but this is the first time we've done it fully - and I am very pleased.

Heather

#4 momee

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 01:46 PM

"Even still, what I came out of Challenge realizing was that for me, it is just not a rigorous enough program and the credits they give are IMHO too generous for the work done."

I'm confused. Would you mind giving me a bit more info about this statement. We're looking at doing CC in the fall. Challenge A.
Thanks.

Maybe you can answer this also. What do they do for history? I see 6 subjects but not one for history.

Edited by momee, 12 May 2010 - 02:21 PM.


#5 profmom

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:40 AM

I didn't expect to be considering Challenge for my ds, but I am and have been reading some of the archives here.

Some say it's not challenging enough. Will some of you elaborate on exactly what? It does seem lighter in some ways than even what we are doing this year (and, it seems, it's lighter than what my kids have/are doing at TPS), but for this particular ds, it might be beneficial.

He was a "memory master" last year in 6th, and is in Foundations again this year for 7th (+ other 7th grade work at home, not memory master this year though) -- they didn't offer Challenge A this year and I probably wouldn't have included him anyway. The Challenge B director has been talking to me about putting him into the program (B) next year for 8th.

This ds wants to take computer programming classes, starting with an introductory class in 8th, and we'd want to stick with our Spanish. So, first of all, would those be very doable with Challenge B?

Also, this ds needs to work on thinking & discussing, along with improving writing skills. We've always used a writing program, but I'm interested in trying IEW. Do you think Challenge B is strong and helpful in these areas (thinking, discussing, writing)?

Any thoughts or advice would be beneficial. Pros? Cons? Praises? Concerns?

Thanks!

#6 NayfiesMama

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 01:03 AM

This is sort of an old thread. Challenge totally depends on the dynamics of the class and the Tutor. I think it's workable, most, if you are able to sit in with the student. I love the person who did our Challenge A... Love the man who did our Challenge B the first year when my step-daughter jumped in for a year... Not so much love the company and the percentage of $$$ that they take off the top of what the Tutor makes...
Jr High is a hard couple years to figure out, but starting in 9th MFW has worked well for our co-op. You just need a leader :)
(and I have thought of Potter's School, too!!) We also have a 2 day a week (afternoons) that I would look at, if our co-op doesn't fill my need. (My son that I'm still hs is in 3rd this year.)
I think that the best experiences I've heard are where the tutor does what is best for their class and doesn't mind if it's not totally in sync with what CC wants....

#7 G5052

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 06:52 AM

A friend of mine compared it to picking a Protestant church. We all use the same Bible, but the leadership and members make all the difference. Even among a particular denomination, you will see variations good and bad.

The tutor is expected to discuss the upcoming assignments at some level and go over homework. Their ability to deal with the upcoming assignments will depend on their expertise. Some will bring their experience and background in IEW and Andrew Kern's materials in, and some will rely pretty much on what CC provides. Some will teach the different types of writing and give written feedback on the assignments, and some will read from the guide and put a checkmark on the assignment to show that they've read it. Some will offer extra tutoring sessions, and some will not. In class there may be more or less involvement to ensure that errors are corrected on assignments.

As I posted on another thread, I've decided that the key is my involvement. I would say that it is much more important than most parents appreciate. This year we did Challenge and online classes, and the line between parent and teacher was different. In Challenge, I provide the detailed expectations and grade a fair amount of the work. In online classes, the expectations are given up front in the form of a detailed rubric, quiz, or other evaluation tool, and in most cases the instructor grades it or I grade it based on their detailed guidance and email the instructor the score. Both are valid approaches, but are not the same by any means.

In our experience, Challenge has been especially good for subjects where group involvement made the difference and where the tutor was themselves an inspiring individual. Where I've been disappointed, one or the other of those issues was at the forefront. Next year our plans involve a mixture of Challenge, online, and mom-taught for different kids. And no, I never became a Director. God led to other areas.

Edited by GVA, 22 March 2012 - 07:10 AM.


#8 profmom

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 07:45 AM

I appreciate your help, Carrie & GVA!

This particular tutor is new, but she has been planning by talking to other successful Ch-B directors, and her dd has gone through Ch-A. As an Essentials tutor for the past two years, she is thoroughly familiar and loves IEW. She says she would give detailed feedback on the kids' papers, unless the parents don't want her to, and one of her main goals for the group is helping them to have productive class discussions.

Carrie, we love, love TPS's Classical Track (CT), which begins in 9th grade, for our oldest, but I have in mind to consider whether MFW's 9th grade might be a better fit for this particular dc (the same one I'm considering putting in Challenge B next year)! I'll have a much better idea after his 8th grade year.

GVA, it's interesting that you have experience with Challenge and online classes! We have used several online classes over the past few years. Can you elaborate more on what kind of parental involvement is needed & beneficial in Challenge B? Comparing my two oldest, my dd in TPS's CT has always been able to be more independent, and this ds has needed more involvement from me for his online classes -- especially helping him think through what to write for papers, quizzing him to help him study for science tests, and helping him to organize his time. I think it would be beneficial for me to accept & embrace (lol!) that he needs more involvement from me and go with it.

Besides working efficiently, organizing, etc. (which we are working on), it seems that the skills my ds needs is to improve before high school are his writing, beginning to think more deeply, and participating in discussions. Do you guys think Ch-B would be beneficial for working on those skills? If not, what else would you recommend at the 8th grade level? If we went with Ch-B, I would want to dig into IEW myself, check into the 2-week intensive IEW program for the beginning of the school year, and make the most of the writing opportunities in Ch-B, if that's a realistic goal.

I'm all ears as we consider options for 8th grade!

#9 G5052

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:00 AM

Besides working efficiently, organizing, etc. (which we are working on), it seems that the skills my ds needs is to improve before high school are his writing, beginning to think more deeply, and participating in discussions. Do you guys think Ch-B would be beneficial for working on those skills? If not, what else would you recommend at the 8th grade level? If we went with Ch-B, I would want to dig into IEW myself, check into the 2-week intensive IEW program for the beginning of the school year, and make the most of the writing opportunities in Ch-B, if that's a realistic goal.

I'm all ears as we consider options for 8th grade!


Well, I'm being guarded here, but it really does vary. I don't want to give details, but we've had the whole range of experiences. If the Challenge B tutor doesn't care what their notebooks look like, doesn't give priority towards getting the work done, and hasn't made the effort to be able to teach logic and mock trial, you probably won't get what you want. At least with 8th grade you can make it work and then go that way or differently for high school.

For Challenge I and up, I decided that it has to be 90% what I want in terms of the person leading it, the books, and the approach of the seminars. It is designed as an integrated program and is too much $$$ for me to have them sit through seminars that they aren't doing the work for. I don't have a lot of time to run mine around to different places, add a lot of additional curriculum, etc. etc. This year we compromised to keep everyone at the same location by doing Latin online and having me teach the math and add to the science. I don't plan to do that much again though, and for that reason will have only one in Challenge next year.

HTH!

#10 Kim in SouthGa

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:54 AM

My just turned 13 dd started Challenge B in January. For science, they have been reading and outlining a chapter a week of Defeating Darwinism. They finished last week, and this week they have to fill out a study guide of definitions and write a 5 paragraph essay about it, in addition to two lessons in the chemistry book. She also had to read a short story (most are not so short), answer questions on it, and work on the short story that she is writing. Usually they have two or three short stories, but for some reason it was only one this week. For mock trial, she has to write closing statements for the prosecution and defense. She also has the usual logic and Latin homework.

She absolutely loves it, but it has been a big step up for her-and I thought I had been schooling classically all these years so it wouldn't be too hard! As far as actual writing instruction, there really hasn't been much. It has been mostly creative writing this semester, and the mock trial stuff. We had to google and get help with that, but there is a ton of info out there if you look for it. I think they figure that after doing IEW in Essentials and Challenge A, you should know how to write the required assignments for B. My dd had done a couple of years of IEW, so she has been fine.

Besides Challenge B, she has been continuing with the Sonlight history that she started the year with. When she has a really heavy CC week, I let her skip it, knowing she'll have to continue it in the summer. She also does Easy Grammar Plus and Spelling Workout. She is doing Kinetic PreAlgebra at home. All that plus dance three times a week, a twice monthly art class, and things like International Day with our homeschool group-it has been more than enough!

The discussion, accountability, learning to be organized, and learning to think and research have all been extremely valuable. She is learning to go dig up information on her own instead of having it all handed to her. She and her older brother will both be doing Challenge I next year. I'm really looking forward to having them in there together to foster even more discussion at home. Since Challenge I is government and economics, I'm hoping to plan a trip to TeenPact, and my oldest, who will be in 11th grade, is going to be participating in a speech competition with the American Legion (I think) about the Constitution.

I think the the student workshops at the practicum would be great. We have had a rough time with the symbolic logic, so I would recommend getting the dvds unless your tutor is an absolute whiz at it and willing to have extra study groups. I just could not grasp it myself by reading the text, and couldn't sit in the CC sessions.

As for the cost, most online classes are around $450 or more per class. If we were not doing CC, I'm sure they would be doing at least two classes each, so for us it is really not that much more. I'm also really excited about the opportunities for dual enrollment with Bryan College.

#11 profmom

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 02:33 PM

Thank you, GVA & Kim! Your comments are very helpful! I'm trying to decide between online classes and Challenge B, but it's very difficult to understand Ch-B without experiencing it or being able to spend time with the guide. Rather than continue to hijack this old thread, I think I'll start a new thread with my new questions. :)



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